Tips for Working Parents: Saving Time at Home
Even though you’re working outside the home, you still have household responsibilities. That’s why you need all the help you can get in getting things done-from keeping track of family activities, to cooking, to paying bills. Above all, forget perfection. Instead, aim for flexibility as you adapt these timesaving pointers to your own household and needs.
To help organize family matters, keep a big calendar on display. Enter every member’s activities and appointments. This helps guard against surprises and missed appointments because everyone knows where everyone else is and what needs to be done.
Reduce clutter by keeping a ‘‘clutter basket’’ at the foot of the stairs or in each room. Then make it a family rule to stash away all clutter before leaving the room. If possible, learn to love dust—that way you can keep unnecessary cleaning to a minimum.
Keep food simple, easy, and nutritious. You don’t have to prepare an elaborate meal every night—if ever— unless it’s something you really enjoy. When cooking a main dish, make enough extra to freeze in meal-sized portions for heat-and-serve dinners another time.
To save ‘‘sorting’’ time and avoid mismatches, buy your child socks in only one style and one color. Have your child help you sort and fold laundry. Laundry is unbreakable, and this allows you to spend more time enjoying each other’s company.
Make it a habit to consolidate errands and appointments instead of making lots of small trips. While grocery shopping, drop off the shoes and pick up the dry cleaning. Consider making dental appointments for your children and yourself on the same day.
Stash all bills in one place, as they arrive; then set aside time twice a month and pay everything that’s due. If you devote too much time to trying to balance your checkbook, arrange to barter with someone who’s good at it, in exchange for a service from you.